Central Registry for Domestic Violence Trinidad & Tobago
Domestic violence has touched the lives of many people in Trinidad & Tobago in a number of ways. Reports from the Crime And Problem Analysis Branch of the Trinidad & Tobago Police Service reveal that between the years 2009 and 2014 there were 11,009 incidents of domestic violence reported. Adult victims have experienced physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, and/or economic abuse. Children have also been seriously affected by domestic violence, and it has an economic impact on society. Domestic violence may lead to a systemic deterioration, as well as individual pathology, that often go unrecognized.
The Government of Trinidad & Tobago initiated proceedings as early as 1999 to appoint a Task force/committee to inform the development of a comprehensive national policy on domestic violence. One of the main recommendations made was the establishment of a monitoring and surveillance system which would permit the generation and retrieval of the requisite data deemed to be necessary in enabling policy-makers and other stakeholders to:
- Obtain a profile of victims and persons accused
- Understand the frequency and incidence of domestic violence
- Identify the groups at risk
- Develop intervention programmes and
- Monitor the effectiveness of violence prevention and intervention activities
There are multiple data sources that continue to produce a range of critical data that are complementary to the establishment of a data base to be management by a centralised data collection and dissemination system. Agency-specific mandates differ and have implications for data items that used as a basis for operationalizing the principal concepts of interest of the disparate agencies. This suggests the need for some level of the harmonisation of data. In order to test the feasibility of this harmonisation process, the Ministry of Community Development, Culture and Gender Affairs engaged the services of a consultant to conduct a pilot test. The test was conducted by the Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies (SALISES) of The University of the West indies St, Augustine during a 13 month period from March 2009 to April 2010. The principal consultant was Dr. Godfrey St. Bernard.
In his final report Dr. St Bernard recommended that a Central Registry can be established based on a small scale and gradually increased as processes are implemented to minimise the limitations which need to be addressed in order to improve the output and validity of its output.